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  • Spicy Pickleball to run first woman only Pickleball Festival | Telford Pickleball gets planning permission | PPA Mesa Arizona Cup

Spicy Pickleball to run first woman only Pickleball Festival | Telford Pickleball gets planning permission | PPA Mesa Arizona Cup

4 simple tips when returning a serve | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

Spicy Pickleball to run first woman only Pickleball Festival

Source: Spicy Pickleball Academy

Spicy Pickleball Academy, a pickleball coaching company founded by Mollie Kubrick-Finney has announced the first-ever women-only pickleball festival on the 6th of April at Batchwood Tennis and Sports Centre in St Albans.

The festival named Femme Pickle will be the first of many planned woman-only events run in a non-competitive festival format tailored to the player’s skill level with the ability to move up and down the skill levels on the day.

It costs £35 to enter the event and all players will get a goodie bag featuring a free t-shirt and gift bag.

Mollie’s vision for Femme Pickle is to create a unique experience for female players of all ages and levels and the motivation to create a safe, fun, and motivating environment for females to thrive in pickleball.

“Femme pickle is something I’m extremely passionate about. I aim to give as many females a chance to thrive in sport and feel good about themselves as possible. Pickleball is the perfect sport for all females of all ages to either get into or get back into sport and realise their full potential”

Mollie Kubrick-Finney - Spicy Pickleball Academy

Learn more about the Femme Pickleball Festival here.

UPDATE: The first Femme Pickleball Event is SOLD OUT! To get on the mailing list about future Femme Pickle events go here.

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Telford Pickleball gets planning permission to improve facility

Source: Telford Pickleball

Telford Pickleball, the UK’s first dedicated pickleball facility has had planning permission approved to build a viewing gallery over the courts and a heated club room.

The expanded facility will also include a new pickleball shop, cafe, and toilets.

Building work will start within the month and is expected to be completed in April making this already fantastic facility, even better.

Founder Mike Lynch is trailblazing a path for new facilities and the growth of pickleball in the UK. Telford Pickleball might be the first but we expect to see several more facilities opening in 2024.

"We're very pleased to have received the support of both our parish and town councils to develop the centre further and cater for the growing demand for the sport the centre is generating in the region.

We plan to start building work on the viewing gallery in the coming month and expect the work to be completed by April."

Mike Lynch - Founder of Telford Pickleball

With current badminton and sports hall facilities pushed to capacity and very few slots available to pickleball clubs, this will be welcomed wholeheartedly by pickleball players across the county keen to play at dedicated facilities.

If you’re interested in opening a pickleball facility, Mike is currently running seminars on how to set up your own indoor pickleball centre. For more details, click here.

We look forward to seeing the new facility when the work has been completed!

Coaching Corner

Source: Pickleball England

4 simple tips when returning a serve

Returning a serve in pickleball can set the tone for the rally. A well-executed return can put your opponents on the defensive and give you a strategic advantage. Here are some tips for returning a serve.

1. Move Through the Ball

The essence of a strong return lies in your movement. As you hit the ball, you should be moving forward, enabling you to cover the court more efficiently.

This technique ensures you're advancing toward the kitchen line, ideally positioning yourself for the next shot. Running through your return not only adds momentum to the shot but also helps in closing the distance to the net quickly, preparing you for the next shot.

2. Embrace Topspin Returns

Pickleball is constantly evolving, with high-level players now favoring topspin returns over the classic slice.

Unlike slice returns, which tend to float and give opponents a better chance to apply their spin, topspin returns drop quicker and can be hit harder.

This not only complicates the third shot for your opponent but also allows you to exert more power in your returns.

3. Maintain Your Ground

A common mistake players make is allowing the serve to push them back. To counteract deep serves, you should aim to take the ball on a short hop whenever possible.

This approach prevents you from being pushed backward, allowing you to maintain a favorable position on the court. By standing your ground, you ensure that you can swiftly advance toward the net after returning the serve.

4. Don’t Admire Your Shot

After returning the serve, some players make the mistake of pausing to see if their shot was successful. This hesitation wastes precious time.

Instead, immediately after hitting your return, move forward without looking back. This habit ensures that you're always ready for the next shot, keeping the pressure on your opponents.

To see this in action and more great tips. Check out this video from Enhance Pickleball on YouTube.

PPA Mesa Arizona Cup starts this week featuring “progression draw” format

Source: PPA Tour

First introducing the progression draw at the Nationals back in October, the PPA decided to run it for 10 of their tournaments throughout 2024.

The first of the progression draw formats in 2024 took place at The PPA Masters, January 9th - 14th in Palm Springs California.

The PPA has 3 event types for 2024, Slams, Cups and Opens. The progressive draw is to be used at both the slams and the cups which will earn players more ranking points.

The format allows for 48 competitors in each pro draw, 40 automatic qualifiers and eight spots for qualifiers.

The 40 automatic qualifying spots are filled for the most part using PPA ranking points, with a few nuances that I won’t get into here.

The other spots in the main draw will be filled by players who come through the qualifying rounds.

The progression draw means that rounds progress day by day in a similar way to many tennis tournaments. Players participate in one match per event, per day.

This is different from the ‘traditional’ format where all matches from a bracket are played on the same day. The progressive draw guarantees that there will be singles, doubles, and mixed play throughout the week of the event.

The main thinking behind this is that players get time to rest between matches and it helps build the anticipation all the way to the final, one day at a time.

“We need to get away from a big jumble of matches that we race through on the way to Championship Sunday.

Now, we have more time to follow the brackets and let the anticipation build on the way to Championship Sunday. The pros put too much energy, effort, and time into these tournaments for us to race through all of the great matches.”

PPA Tour President Bryce Morgan

This is how the progressive draw pans out over the week:

  • Qualifiers are played on Tuesday

  • The second round and round of 32 matches are played on Wednesday

  • Round of 16 matches are played on Thursday

  • Quarter-Finals are played on Friday

  • Semi-Finals are played on Saturday

  • Championship matches are played on Sunday

Source: PPA Tour

Running as a trial in 2024 it will be interesting to see if the format gains popularity and whether more events are run like this in the future. It certainly has its merits and Lea Jensen is one pro who seems to be in favour.

PPA Mesa starts today (Tuesday 20th February) with the progressive draw format and runs through to Sunday 25th when all the finals will be played on the same day.

In the UK you can watch some matches on the PPA Tour’s YouTube channel and others on Pickleball TV. In the US, some matches will also be played on Fox Sports.

Check out the TV schedule and where to go for each matchup here.

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

2 new events added this week!

Thanks to everyone using the Pickled Events website to promote their events.

To find events popping up near you, visit the Pickled Events website!

If you’d like to promote your event for free in the Pickleball Addiction newsletter and on the Pickled Events website. Go here.

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